Hearts' attacking intent revealed by statistical evidence from wins against Aberdeen and Ross County

Possession and shots at goal underline the approach under interim manager Steven Naismith
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Hearts’ attacking mindset saw them hit more than 30 shots at goal during Saturday’s victory over Aberdeen as their performance mirrored last month’s 6-1 win against Ross County.

The weekend’s result was far closer, goals from Josh Ginnelly and Lawrence Shankland earning a narrow but deserved 2-1 scoreline at Tynecastle Park. Hearts finished with 61 per cent possession and 31 attempts at goal compared to Aberdeen’s nine. Against County, the hosts recorded 64 per cent possession and 30 goal attempts.

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Interim manager Steven Naismith noted the similarities in terms of chances created and believes it is further evidence that players are responding tactically. “I’m pretty sure a lot of people commented on Ross County being bottom of the league when they came here. I think that’s really disrespectful to County,” he said.

“They are a good team defensively but we did that to them. They didn’t perform terribly bad, we performed really well. So maybe you don’t get enough credit for that one. On Saturday, we came up against the team sitting third in the table who were on a great run of form. We dominated the ball, created brilliant chances and got the win. That’s really pleasing.

“Winning any big game gives you that confidence, but the boys have been brilliant and bought into what we’re doing. I’m pleased we are starting to see that more consistently. People at Saturday’s game could see we were trying to win the game.

“We aren’t happy to just sit in and draw or try to hold on. If we want to win matches, the manner we did it on Saturday gives us, as coaches, a confidence that the boys are buying into what we are doing.

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“Even when Aberdeen scored, we didn’t change. We didn't panic and go long ball, we continued to do what we were doing. That’s why we got chances after that, and they weren’t just half-chances. They were proper opportunities and we could have had more goals.”

Interim Hearts manager Steven Naismith is pleased with the team's attacking prowess.Interim Hearts manager Steven Naismith is pleased with the team's attacking prowess.
Interim Hearts manager Steven Naismith is pleased with the team's attacking prowess.

The result pushed Hearts to within two points of third-placed Aberdeen in the Premiership table. They now travel to Ibrox on Wednesday hoping to earn a result against Rangers and increase their chances of catching the Pittodrie club.